MBABANE: Senior Superintendent Clement Sihlongonyane, the Head of the highest police investigation unit Tingculungculu allegedly manipulated the criminal justice system to protect an alleged royal serial rapist Prince Sicelo Dlamini who stands accused of raping a University student.
Prince Sicelo Dlamini is the son of the late Prince Phiwowakhe, a brother to King Mswati, an absolute Monarch who is above the Constitution and cannot be prosecuted in any court within the Kingdom of eSwatini.
An independent investigation by this publication suggests that on or around 08 September 2018, Prince Sicelo allegedly kidnapped the 19-year old University student, drugged her with a liquid substance before raping her in a Guest House in Manzini.
It is alleged that on or around the 10thSeptember 2018, the teenager went to open a rape case against Prince Sicelo but Superintendent Sihlongonyanequickly took over the matter not in the interest of justice but to sabotage the investigations.
When violating women and human rights with impunity, the police normally ‘engage’ the highly censored eSwatini media and or editors to slowly and systematically shift the matter out of the public domain so the Nation can forget about it while the law enforcement agency claim to be investigating it.
Nonhlanhla Dlamini, the Director of the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGGA) said they tried in vain to ensure that justice takes its course in the matter, including writing to the relevant authorities and institutions in the country.
“This is troubling us because we thought the coming into existence of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act (SODV) will ensure that everyone will be arrested for committing such crimes, but it seems the law has developed eyes. We are working on it, it’s hard for us to keep quiet particularly because the victim came to report the matter to our organization, so she is a client” said the SWAGGA Director.
The police in Eswatini are not allowed to arrest members of the royal family without the permission from King Mswati.
On or around 12thOctober 2011, the Times of Eswatini reported that police Executive Command apologized to the late Prince Sobandla after junior police officers enforced the law, by arresting him for drinking and driving, the charges were later withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
This was after the Prince allegedly refused to appear in court to face the charges but instead, summoned the then National Commissioner Isaac Magagula and other top police officers to his residence in Mbabane where the matter of his arrest was discussed at length. The National Commissioner who was represented by the then Hhohho Regional Commander Richard Mngomezulu and the then Mbabane Station Commander George Mayisa apologized to the Prince for arresting him.
Colani Hlatswako, the One Billion Rising Campaign Africa Coordinator said the case of the University student was one of the many cases where victims were denied justice, she said it was such conduct by the law enforcement agency that resulted to people not taking the justice system seriously.
“This is one of the things that contributed to the people not taking the justice system seriously and it has also contributed to people not willing to report cases when they have been abused because they have seen there are people who committed similar crimes and nothing has been done. So as One Billion Rising Campaign we condemn and call upon the justice system that include the police and DPP’s office to ensure that when cases are reported, victims get justice” she said.
On or around November 2018, Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, the Eswatini Police Spokesperson told the Swazi Observer, a newspaper ‘owned’ by King Mswati that the police had handed over the docket of the Prince to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), however, no arrest was made.
Lucky Lukhele, the Spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) called upon human rights defenders to take up the matter.
“We call upon human rights defenders and political activists to take up this matter to ensure that justice prevail” he said.
When this publication launched an independent investigation on this matter in 2018, the teenager confirmed the matter but said she was living in fear as the perpetrator was too powerful and the police were beginning to be hostile against her.
“I am afraid to even talk about it because the police are now hostile against me, the Prince is powerful, I am being threatened and denied justice” said the victim.
Wandile Dludlu, the Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) said University students should organize a protest march and demand justice for the victim. Speaking to this publication in an earlier interview, the Secretary General said it was surprising that the Universities are operating normally when one of their own was allegedly raped and subsequently denied justice.
“Students should shut down all the Universities and demand justice for the victim and once they do that the Nation will join them” said the PUDEMO Secretary General.
Prince Sicelo and Senior Superintendent Clement Sihlongonyane